Glossary

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Acre-foot - the volume of water required to cover one acre of land (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. Equal to 325,851 gallons or 1,233 cubic meters.

Alkaline - sometimes water or soils contain an amount of alkali substances sufficient to raise the pH value above 7.0 and can be harmful to the growth of crops.

Alkalinity - the capacity of water for neutralizing an acid solution.

Aqueduct - a pipe, conduit, or channel designed to transport water from a remote source, usually by gravity.

Cubic feet per second (cfs) - a rate of the flow of water. It is equal to a volume of water one foot high and one foot wide flowing a distance of one foot in one second. One "cfs" is equal to 7.48 gallons of water flowing each second. As an example, if your car's gas tank is two feet by one foot by one foot (two cubic feet), then gas flowing at a rate of one cubic foot/second would fill the tank in two seconds. An easy conversion is 450 gallons per minute equals 1 CFS.

Irrigation - the controlled application of water to assist in the growing of crops and pastures or to maintain vegetative growth.

pH - a measure of the relative acidity or alkalinity of water. Water with pH of seven is neutral; lower pH levels indicate increasing acidity, while pH levels higher than seven indicate increasingly basic solutions.

Potable water - water of quality suitable for drinking.

Reverse osmosis - (1) (Desalination) The process of removing salts from water using a membrane. With reverse osmosis, the product water passes through a fine membrane that the salts are unable to pass through, while the salt waste (brine) is removed and disposed. This process differs from electro dialysis, where the salts are extracted from the feed water by using a membrane with an electrical current to separate the ions. The positive ions go through one membrane, while the negative ions flow through a different membrane, leaving the end product of freshwater. (2) (Water Quality) An advanced method of water or wastewater treatment that relies on a semipermeable membrane to separate waters from pollutants. An external force is used to reverse the normal osmotic process resulting in the solvent moving from a solution of higher concentration to one of lower concentration.

Xeriscape - creative landscaping for water and energy efficiency and lower maintenance. The seven xeriscape principles are: good planning and design; practical lawn areas; efficient irrigation; soil improvement; use of mulches; low water demand plants; and good maintenance. A list of "low water" plants is available from the Arizona Department of Water Resources.